Game Night is an excellent representation of what a smartly thought out comedy should look like. With sharp comedy, great character actors fulfilling the comedic timing necessities, and a uniquely creative direction to tie the whole thing together.
Game Night has a unique component of showing hovering views of locations that the characters are starting certain scenes in, to make them look like a model location. This creative choice is best utilized with a particular hotel scene near the films finale and the constant overview of the suburb that Jason Bateman and his friends reside in. This being the directors second effort after the poorly received Vacation reboot with Ed Helms, Game Night showed off the director’s comedic talents.
Max (Jason Bateman) and wife, Annie (Rachel McAdams), are a very competitive couple who host consistent game nights with their friends to keep their competitive nature alive. However when Max’s successful brother stops by and decides to host his own version of game night, things quickly get a little out of hand. With many twists and turns, Game Night offers more than just silly, nonsensical jokes and goes deeper with smart, thought out humor.
ACTING | CHARACTERS | DIALOGUE:
Jason Bateman is one of the best actors working in the industry today. Not because of his award winning performances, as those are few and far between, but because of his general appeal as the actor we can all relate to from time to time. Bateman gives another relatable performance here and really drives it home with the help of his movie wife, Rachel McAdams, who is just as likable in her role as Bateman is in his. You understand that these actors are playing a game that they want to win against their supporting counterparts, and you can see it in their expressions on screen just how enthusiastic they can become when they think they’re ahead of the game. All the supporting members of the cast from the friends (Lamorne Morris, Billy Magnussen), to the “villains” (Joshua Mikel, Zerrick Williams), and finally to the neighbor that is uncategorizable (Jesse Plemons), portray their roles brilliantly no matter how much screen time they are issued. Jesse Plemons is one of the sole reasons to see this film. Trust in that single notion, and you will at the very least enjoy this movie for his genius alone.
VISUAL EFFECTS | MAKEUP | DESIGN:
MUSIC | SCORE | SOUND DESIGN:
A puzzling rendition of a typical mystery score, Cliff Martinez and Peter G. Adams have created a solid 80s style score for their 2018 action-comedy. With moments of stellar composing, paying brilliant homage to the classic B-Movies of the 80s, the film often fades away from this and into a more modern day score, only to quickly fade right back into the prior. Although thrilling during the film, the unfortunate thing about having a film with so much going for it is that something often gets lost on the audience, and even though it’s great during the film, afterwards...it’s forgotten all about.
As was explained in the directing segment, the wonderful effect of the model sets for the overtop view of the suburbs and so forth, were expertly crafted and gave a whole other element to the feature. This, along with a few SPOILER moments of intense violence, were graciously made to make you feel harm for the character/s in relative pain. The best use of effects was used with most likely no CGI help, but instead a great use of practical corn syrup, or whatever substance they substituted for actual blood, in the case of ‘Bateman’s Dog Incident’ as was seen in the trailer. The use of lighting in certain instances helped build more of a case toward some characters being a possible suspect for the person(s) behind the entire ‘game.’ The best example being a scene with Jesse Plemons inviting his neighbors into his home and then disappearing into perfect darkness.The film is filled to the brim with twist and surprises, which are helped majorly with the fantastic usage of practical effects, makeup, design, and at times, CGI.
John Francis Daley (Vacation) and Jonathan Goldstein (Horrible Bosses) have really captured the essence of what makes a great comedy with Game Night, providing brilliant direction to a wonderfully written screenplay by Mark Perez (Accepted). For fans of sharp comedy, Game Night is a sight for sore eyes for a genre that hasn’t had a phenomenal entry since [BIASED OPINION] the 21 Jump Street sequel.